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Happiness and Struggle

How to stay together even during the roughest of times.

By: Tiffani Mason

In two thousand and eight the stock market dropped, people lost their jobs, and their homes. In White Plains New York an upper class couple lived in their four bedroom, three-bath center hall colonial. They felt like their lives would be complete as soon as they had some children to fill all those bedrooms. Before Wall Street fell into the sewers Mark Clein was at the top of his game. He was working his way up the corporate ladder working for Circuit City’s corporate office as a financier. He was making sixty thousand dollars a year and loved his job. His wife Evelyn was and still is an elementary school guidance councilor at Aldridge Park elementary school. She also loved her job because she was the kind of woman who loved helping children.

On the day every news channel was filled with stock market record lows, and frenzy on Wall Street, Mark was in his office in Manhattan on his break eating lunch and turned to channel five. He was shocked; but didn’t really care because he felt his life was perfect. He thought there was no way this could affect his life. His mortgage payments were always paid on time, and he was up for a promotion in a few months. A few hours later he went back to his perfect home, and talked about how crazy everyone on television was acting since the stock market went crazy that day. They had a whole conversation on how Wall Street doesn’t really have anything to do with regular people; they felt it would only affect millionaire’s money.

Four weeks went by and Mark noticed some of his fellow co-workers were starting to disappear. He went up to his secretary’s desk to ask her what had happened.

“Kathy where did Kevin-“ he began to ask. He noticed someone else was sitting in Kathy’s chair.

“Hi, where’s Kathy?” he asked.

“I’m sorry Mr. Clein... Kathy was let go yesterday...they told her after she was finished for the day,” said the new temp.

“What? How could they do that?” Mark asked.

“They have been letting people go left and right sir,” she replied.

“Oh man that’s horrible... I have to call her later and see how she’s doing.”

“Do you need anything Mr. Clein?” the young woman asked.

“No, I’m fine just confused but thanks anyway,” he said.

He was on his last hour of work before he was going to head home for the night. The temp paged him on his office phone telling him Mr. Peters wanted to see him as soon as possible. The temporary secretary named Amanda said the message with such positive energy that he knew it was about that promotion he had been waiting for. He tightened his red and black tie and brushed his fingers through his hair to make sure he looked his best. He went to Mr. Peter’s office at the other end of the hall and greeted him with a handshake and a sincere smile.

“How you doing Mr. Peters, Amanda said you wanted to see me? he said.

“Yes Mark, you are a great asset to this company, and we have been extremely lucky to have you with us,” Mr. Peters said.

Mark’s excitement grew, and he didn’t want to seem eager; but he couldn’t wait for his boss to just come out and give him the good news.

“But... we have to let you go,” Mr. Peters said.

Mark was confused, and didn’t know how to react. He just sat in the dark brown leather chair for a whole three minutes in silence. Mr. Peters got up and put his hand firmly on Mark's shoulder.

“You are an amazing worker Mark, I know you’ll get through this and find something real soon. I wish I didn’t have to do this; but we lost millions in the crash, and we have to let thousands of people go, and close tons of our stores across the country,” he said.

Mark had no response, and just went back to his office, packed up his things, and went home. When he was greeted by his wife he felt ashamed to have to tell her such horrible news. He tried to make it short and sweet; but her shock was everything but short or sweet. Evelyn went on and on about the bills, the car payment, and how much of a jerk Mr. Peters was for letting her husband go. Soon she gained her composure back and comforted her husband.

“It’s okay babe we can get through this,” Evelyn said.

“I know, but I feel so worthless... how could they just throw me away like that? Mark asked.

“I don’t know honey,” she said.

A few months went past and the bills started to pile up. For a while Evelyn’s salary was sufficient enough, but their savings were now gone, and they realized they couldn’t live as lavish as usual. They realized having four bedrooms was a waste since they weren’t actually planning to have any children for a few more years. They unanimously agreed that they needed to stay at hotel for a little while so they could save up some money for a smaller place, and until Mark found a new job that paid decently.

As they sat on the balcony of the hotel room they got, they actually shared a laugh over how relieving it was to not have to kiss Mr. Peters' butt anymore. Even though they were broke, staying at a cheap hotel, and didn’t know what was going to happen next; they were still happy just to be together, and happy.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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